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Draft of Statement1
[November 18? 1942] [Washington, D.C.]
Political factors may exercise a determining influence on military operations, therefore they must be given careful consideration. The African operation involved a variety of political factors of far reaching consequence. Yet soldiers must not assume to lead or to dictate in such matters.2
Using the common interpretation of the word, politics in this country I think have been kept clear of military matters. We have just had convincing proof of this fact in the selection of the date for the African offensive. It was determined several months ago that November 8th was the earliest date we could complete our arrangements. The effect on the recent election of an earlier [date] requires no comment by me, except to say that the American people have sound reason to feel that party politics or selfish motives play not part in the decisions regarding military operations.
Document Copy Text Source: George C. Marshall Papers, Pentagon Office Collection, Selected Materials, George C. Marshall Research Library, Lexington, Virginia.
Document Format: Handwritten draft.
1. Marshall probably prepared this undated and untitled holograph note as an introduction to his remarks at an informal meeting he had arranged on the morning of November 18 with members of the House and Senate military committees. In 1957 Marshall recalled: “In the Darlan episode I brought down a group of members of Congress—particularly of the Senate, very carefully selected men—and explained to them what the situation was and read them a message, a long message I just got from General Eisenhower that day, which explained his point of view at that moment. That helped a great deal, because it gave us defenders on the floor of the Senate and the floor of the House. And they were very loyal in the fact that they didn’t spread this all over the place. And there were some very strong men in it who were very settled in their own opinions.” (Marshall Interviews, p. 487.) The message from Eisenhower concerning the North African political situation is in Papers of DDE, 2: 732-35.
2. At this point Marshall deleted the following two sentences which he had already amended: “They
must should never become involved in American politics, using the common interpretation of the term. And in this connection apropos of this thought I would want to draw your attention to party politics should leave the soldier [.]”
Recommended Citation: ThePapers of George Catlett Marshall, ed.Larry I. Bland and Sharon Ritenour Stevens(Lexington, Va.: The George C. Marshall Foundation, 1981- ). Electronic version based on The Papers of George Catlett Marshall, vol. 3, “The Right Man for the Job,” December 7, 1941-May 31, 1943 (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1991), pp. 442-443.